"Record fee" - Clubs learn price tag for in-demand Gloucester number 8 Zach Mercer - Ruck

“Record fee” – Clubs learn price tag for in-demand Gloucester number 8 Zach Mercer

Gloucester’s Zach Mercer is catching the eye of French Top 14 clubs, but a hefty compensation fee stands in the way of his potential move.

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The versatile back-rower has shone since his return to the Premiership, impressing after his stint with Montpellier in the Top 14.

Yet, a public fallout with England’s Steve Borthwick has fueled speculation of a return across the channel.

This speculation isn’t just hearsay; club owner Bernard Lemaitre has confirmed their keen interest in Mercer.

“Who wouldn’t want a player like him? He brings both power and pace to the game, a rare combination,” Lemaitre told var-matin.

However, Mercer’s contract with Gloucester, spanning the next two to three years, complicates matters.

According to a report from Midi Olympique, Gloucester has slapped a €1 million price tag on Mercer’s release, following his recent long-term contract renewal with the Cherry and Whites.

The reason why Steve Borthwick has exiled Zach Mercer from the England squad

Rumour has it that Head Coach Borthwick has shifted focus from a number of aging stars, who have disclosed their plans for next season.

Zach Mercer

 Mercer, has declared that he’s taking a break from England duty for the time being, expressing his disappointment at being excluded from the upcoming Six Nations Championship squad.

Mercer said: “I’ve been open with Steve, I’ve told him my opinions on it. I thought I haven’t really been given a crack which is what I feel like, to not even be given a game to try and prove myself is tough.

“I just don’t feel like he values what I can offer as a player and that’s me being honest, I don’t think he values what I can bring.

“Obviously I don’t fit into the system that he wants to run and, whether I agree with that or not, it is what it is.

“My focus now is on Gloucester and England can take a step aside for the moment.”

Zach Mercer of Gloucester Rugby on the break during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Harlequins at Kingsholm Stadium on October 14th, 2023 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK/Gallagher)

Borthwick response:

“Zach and I had a conversation last week. We’ve had a number of conversations over the last couple of weeks with Zach since he’s come back from injury.

“We’ve highlighted areas where players have done well and the areas where they bring a point of difference. It’s a competitive arena.

“And [we highlight] areas where we want them to develop them and add to their game. That’s the same conversation I had with Zach.

“When I’m talking to a player, I’m basing it in objectivity. I’m basing it on targets for them to go after, and then we can shape a shared understanding of what we’re seeing.

“Granted, sometimes as a coach you want something specific in a team, I’m always looking at all the coaches and all the players that are able to provide that.”